This has been a great week! I have three positives:
1. At the suggestion of our instructional facilitator, I implimented a new procedure designed to improve classroom management. First, I brought in boxes, one for each period I teach. The students now have to leave their journals in class. They stay in the boxes, and at the beginning of each period, the designated student takes the journals out of the box and passes them out. At the end of the period, that student collects the journals and puts them back in the box. This is designed to eliminate the constant problem of students not bringing paper to class, and it is designed to eliminate the problem of students losing their journals, which are a major part of their grade. So far, it is working like a charm! It seems so easy, I can't believe it didn't occur to me.
2. I've been asking for SOMEONE to come and observe my most difficult group since October. No one has come. I've asked my mentor, the AP and even mentioned it to the principal. This week, I asked my mentor's instructional aide if she could come, and she did. My mentor has the same group another period, and has always said that she doesn't have trouble with this group, which is partly why I really felt I needed help with them - if they behaved well with another teacher, I needed to see why they weren't behaving well with me. Well, my mentor's aide watched my class and told me that their behavior in my mentor's class is not much better than it is in my class - they struggle with the same issues she saw that I am struggling with. Hearing this made me feel so much more secure about how I'm managing the group, especially because there are two experienced adults in my mentor's class and just little ol' inexperienced me in my classroom. Also, she gave me one classroom management tip for this group that I think will really help.
3. This weekend I planned lessons for next week. For the first time this year, lesson planning came easily and I feel pretty good about what I have planned.